How to get help when your phone is not working

If you don't have a dial tone on any of your phones, and your phone is not working, your first step is to check for outages using our Troubleshooter. The Troubleshooter will also create a repair request if needed.

Check for outages and troubleshoot problems with your home phone or internet service.

Tips for using the Troubleshooter:
  • You need your account number (can be 9, 11 or 13 digits, depending on your area) or your billing phone number, plus your service zip code.

  • While testing is in progress, stay on the page. Usually this only takes a moment. If you close the window or turn off your computer, you will need to start the test again at another time.

You can also access the Troubleshooter from My CenturyLink online or on the My CenturyLink app. Click on the link located under the My Products tab (see image below). This will autofill your account information and run the troubleshooter for you.

Service Troubleshooter link from My CenturyLink

If there is an area outage

If an outage is found, the Troubleshooter will display a message that says Known Outage Found. You will be given the most up-to-date info about the outage, including when we expect to have it fixed. From here, you can also request to receive notifications when the outage is resolved. There's no need to call and report — rest assured our technicians are working hard to get services back up and running.

If you have a home outage

This is an outage that is only affecting your address. In this case, Troubleshooter will check your lines for any issues and allow you to create a repair ticket without having to call us.

If no problems are found by the Troubleshooter

If the Troubleshooter doesn't find an outage or a known problem with your line, it will present you with a menu of choices to get further help with common issues. Select Phone Problems and follow the prompts to identify what is wrong. From there, you will also have the option of opening a repair ticket or chatting with a support representative.

The same steps that the Troubleshooter will present to you are also described below.

Are you sure you have working service getting to your home? Test it at your home's network box (sometimes called the "network interface device" or NID).

  • The network box connects the telephone network to the wiring inside your home. It's where our outside wiring meets your inside wiring.

  • These boxes are usually about 6" by 9" and gray, attached to the outside of your home near your electric meter and other utility connections. If you don't see it outside, it could be in your basement or attic.

Note: If you live in an apartment, ask your building manager for access; you may have a test jack inside your unit. If you live in a mobile home, the network box may be attached to a pole on your lot.

Phone plugging into filter (diagram)

Outdoor network box

Phone plugging into filter (diagram)

Indoor network box

Test for service at the network box

  1. Use a screwdriver to open the cover marked "Customer Access."
  2. Remove the plug from the test jack.
  3. Plug a working, corded telephone into the test jack.

If you DON'T hear a dial tone or the tone is faint, unclear or intermittent at the network box, then the problem is with our equipment. Request a repair visit through the Troubleshooter, and we will send out a technician. You will not be charged for the technician's visit.

If you DO hear a clear dial tone at the network box, that means there is a problem with your inside wiring or equipment. Refer to the next section on checking equipment for damage.

If you hear a dial tone at the network box, then signal is getting to your home, and you need to check inside. You could be having a problem with your jacks or wiring, which can impact one or multiple phones.

To isolate the problem:

  1. Hang up all your phones. Be sure they're all hung up completely. If any were off the hook, wait a moment, and see if this corrects the problem.

  2. Unplug equipment and test jack.

    1. Unplug all your equipment. First, unplug your phones from both their jacks and electrical outlets. Next, if you have any other equipment that uses a jack, unplug that equipment as well. (For instance, satellite receivers, computer modems, caller ID boxes, fax machines, answering machines and alarm/security systems typically use phone jacks and can cause interference on the line.)

    2. Test your jacks. After you've unplugged all your equipment, wait one minute and then plug a corded phone into each outlet. Testing one jack at a time, you should hear a clear, strong dial tone when you test each outlet. If you don't, make a note of which outlets don't seem to be working and what you heard when you tested them with your corded phone.

If all your jacks have a clear, strong dial tone, the problem is probably with your phone. You might try replacing it.

If the dial tone on one or more of your jacks is faint, unclear or intermittent, you probably have an inside wiring problem. In this case, you can find an experienced professional to make repairs or you can have a CenturyLink technician do the repair. Read more about your repair options

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